As we enter this Advent season, our family is also waiting for a baby. It’s a weird place to be, waiting for a child. Because no matter how many children you have (this is our third), you don’t really know what to expect. Both of our boys have come with a unique and life-changing force that cannot be duplicated or replaced. And, it seems like life wouldn’t be the same without them. That is, I feel like they have always been a part of my life. I can’t imagine what life would be like without my boys.
Those of us who are parents understand this. Looking back at my life before kids, I see nothing but a fuzzy outline of a life lived almost by another person. I don’t recognize that guy. This isn’t to say I was a bad person or even had much to regret, but I wouldn’t say I had a lot of resemblance to who I am now. So much changes.
And I guess a lot of this comes down to the power of “life”. When new life enters this world, it comes with purity, excitement, joy, and passion. New life is “all in” on everything, and you can’t stop it – no matter how many times you tell it to go to bed.
When new life is knocking at our door, we can’t help wonder what is on the other side. What can we expect from this baby in the womb? In what new ways will our hearts expand and grow and surround this new piece of God’s creation? How will we change and adapt and bend? Nothing will ever be the same.
Every time new life comes into the world, we all wait in eager expectation. Feelings such as excitement and joy are crammed together with fear and anxiety and produce emotions that have no words to explain their existence.
Or, we just call it – “hope”.
We feel all of these things waiting for our own children. As we enter the Advent season, we experience these emotions on a much different level. Life is knocking at the door in a way our own new babies can only speak in whispers. The joy and expectation we feel for our children swoons in the reality of the coming Messiah, the great rescuer.
All of the hurt, pain, and suffering of this world starts to unravel at the sound of this knocking. Heaven can’t contain itself and a heavenly choir of angels sneaks out a joyous song. The mere hope of this coming God-man makes the world pay attention.
If the birth of our own children brings hope, wonder, and healing – imagine what the birth of the savior of the world can bring to the hopeless soul!
The thing is, we can know the entire birth narrative of Christ having the benefit of history. Advent forces us to re-insert ourselves in the stories of people who didn’t know the outcome and didn’t understand (to the extent) we do. We celebrate Advent to re-engage in the excitement, joy, and uncertainty of the arrival of our Lord. Time can divorce our feelings from our memory, and Advent seeks to rejoin those together.
We know the story. Let’s take some time to experience it all over again.